By Florida A&M Sports Information
TALLAHASSEE, FL (Sept.15) – The FAMU Rattlers (1-2, 1-0 MEAC) got their first win of the 2012 season in their home and MEAC opener, in a 44-20 besting of the visiting Hampton University Pirates (0-3, 0-1 MEAC) today in Bragg Memorial Stadium. A crowd of 17, 871 turned out to root on the Rattlers, with some getting their first opportunity to see their team after two consecutive weeks on the road to open the 2012 campaign.
FAMU running back, James Owens, showed his explosive speed, scoring three touchdowns in the game. He outraced the entire Pirate secondary in the third quarter, leading to a 57-yard score. That was following an acrobatic leap over a defensive back in the first quarter to score a two-yard touchdown and a tough seven-yard scamper in the second quarter.
The Rattlers won the game with methodic drives. FAMU quarterback Damien Fleming completed 22 of 29 passes for 236 yards, connecting with five different receivers. Admasen Felix was the team’s leading receiver, catching four passes for 65 yards. Lenworth Lennon and Travis Harvey each gained 62 yards receiving, scoring a touchdown and had seven catches apiece.
Owens was the leading rusher for the Rattlers, gaining 161 yards on 11 carries. Eddie Rocker gained 44 yards on 11 carries, while Damien Fleming rushed for 49 yards on 10 carries. Combined with his 117 return yards, Owens had 282 all-purpose yards for the game.
The Pirates were led by Jeremiah Schwartz, who went over the century mark on the ground with 104. Quarterback Travis Champion tossed 53 passes in the game, connecting on 28 of them, for 347 yards. He had two touchdown passes, while giving up one interception. Champion connected passes to 11 different receivers in the game, with a long of 48 yards.
The Rattler defense played a solid game, with the exception of a few lapses in the secondary. In the second half, the team buckled down and put the clamps on the Pirates offense, allowing only a field goal. Senior linebacker Brandon Hepburn led all defenders with 10 total tackles. He had four solos and six assists. Jonathan Pillow and William Smalls had seven tackles each, with Pillow also grabbing an interception. Patrick Aikens rounded out the top tacklers with six, all solo tackles.
The Pirates’ Lyndell Gibson had seven solos and two assisted, for a total of nine. Delbert Tyler would also have an effective game for Hampton, accumulating seven tackles.
FAMU’s special teams had a solid performance. Kicker Chase Varnadore connected on a 37-yard field goal to close out regularion int he first half.
The Rattlers will face the Delaware State Hornets this week in Dover, Del., with a 6 p.m kickoff.